Romania’s deputy prime minister rejected by EU commissioners, in trying to establish visit to Brussels | UPDATE: Government reaction

Newsroom 16/05/2018 | 15:06

Romania’s deputy prime minister Viorel Stefan, in charge of fiscal and economic affairs, failed to arrange official meetings in Brussels with European Union’s commissioners in charge of major economic sectors, government sources told Business Review. His visit in Brussels will start tomorrow, 17th of May, according to government sources.

Viorel Stefan, a former minister of Finance in 2017 and currently deputy prime minister in the government, will make a visit to Brussels this week and tried to arrange official meetings on May 18 with major EU commissioners in charge of fiscal and economic affairs of the Union.

But Valdis Dombrovskis, vice-president of the European Commission for the euro and social dialogue, also in charge of financial stability, financial services and capital markets union, and Pierre Moscovici, EU commissioner for economic and financial affairs, taxation and customs, refused to meet Romania’s deputy prime minister, the sources said.

The only EU commissioner who agreed to meet Viorel Stefan is Corina Cretu, representing Romania in the European Commission, in charge of regional policy.

BR Exclusive! EU commissioners’ cabinets OFFICIALLY confirm they rejected deputy PM Viorel Stefan’s request

Reaction of government

The Romanian government didn’t confirm that Stefan was refused by the commissioners, but mentioned that the deputy PM scheduled a meeting with the European commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, according to Adevarul.ro.

The discussions will focus on the situation of Sidex Galati following the conditional approval of the EC regarding ArcelorMittal’s takeover of Ilva steel plant and other cases of importance for the Romanian economy.

“Information about the other components of the calendar that emerged in the press are pure speculations,” said the government.

Disagreements with the EU on fiscal and judiciary matters

Romania’s government has currently some disagreements with EU’s executive arm concerning the fiscal policy, as well as concerning the controversial changes to Justice laws.

According to the “Spring Economic Forecast 2018”, the European Commission estimates a slowdown of Romania’s economy this year and rising public deficits above the limit of 3 percent of GDP.

“In 2018, the general government deficit is projected to increase to 3.4 percent of GDP. (…) The deficit is projected to reach 3.8 percent of GDP in 2019, driven by increases in social transfers and public investment,” EC estimates.

In January, the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, said that Romania has made great progress on the rule of law and that it is in an “acceptable” stage at the moment, but that the Commission will not accept a backtracking from Romania, as it needs to be an irreversible process.

Juncker warned that if the new justice laws voted by parliament will remain in the same form, then discussions around the removal of MCV and membership in the Schengen will be put in a different light.

Last week, Romania was among three countries to block a EU statement calling the US Embassy move in Israel “unwise.”

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